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Doctor Blames Increasing HIV/AIDS In Donga-Mantung On Military 

By Wamey Panky

Dr. Enongene, a medical doctor, MD, serving with the Nkambe District Hospital, has stated that Donga-Mantung Division keeps topping the chart in HIV/AIDS prevalence due to the presence of the military, among other factors.

The MD made this revelation recently while presenting a paper on the state of HIV/AIDS in Donga -Mantung Division, during the first anniversary celebration of the Savannah Frontier Radio, SFR, Nkambe, presided over by the first assistant Senior Divisional Officer, SDO for Donga-Mantung, Lawrence Diyen Jam.

Enongene revealed that Donga-Mantung, with a population of about 700,000 inhabitants, has for some years been topping the chart in HIV/AIDS prevalence with eight percent rate. He blamed this on the presence of the 62nd Motorised Infantry Battalion in Nkambe. He said from their training, soldiers are made to understand that all about their profession is risk-taking, for instance, going to war is risk-taking; and so, this mentality is carried into their social existence and manifested in their sex habits.

He further explained that by the nature of their work, they are often deployed in places far-off from their families and very often, they let their emotions loose. He remarked that the rate of contracting sexually transmissible diseases among soldiers, during peaceful moments, was five times more than their civilian counterparts. He said during peaceful moments, the soldiers are idle and what occupies them remains rampant drinking and sexual activities, that is, risky towards the acquisition of HIV/AIDS. He, however, also noted that during war, the situation is still alarming as most of them indulge in indiscriminate sex and rape.

Enongene also disclosed that women were the most vulnerable group by nature of their function, physiology and anatomy. He said, comparatively, women had about 8.1 percent while men four percent transmission possibilities. He explained that women, by nature, were too emotional than men and have seducing body build.

Another very vulnerable group, he said, was the youth. Theirs was that they have less experience in life, coupled with the "try and see" principle. He stressed that the youths were the most endangered because they misdirect their energy into high-risk activities. Drunkards, he said, also fall in the high-risk group. He said when drunk, the alcohol in the blood system stimulates uncontrollable sexual desires.

Also on the high-risk group, he said, where medical personnel who are exposed to contracting HIV/AIDS as they exercise their duties in the hospital with all profiles of patients. Sex workers (prostitutes), including "bushfallers" who get stranded abroad and find sex the only means of survival, are also in the high-risk group.

Risky Behaviours

Dr. Enongene said risky behaviours were those that leave man quite exposed to contracting HIV/AIDS. Some of them included: promiscuous life; running around with several sexual partners; those who keep concubines, commonly called "deuxieme bureau"; the culture of inheriting wives within traditional circles; drunkenness; mother-to-child transmission at

delivery; scarification (fetish doctors using razor blades indiscriminately on their clients – even new blades have the risk of tetanus transmission); and coming across infected blood.
The MD advised that, aware of these risky behaviours, people should remain conscious and guard themselves against them. He called on those present to remain allergic to such risky behaviours.

Nevertheless, in a more consoling tone, the medic appealed to individuals to try to know their HIV status, given that those found positive would be put on anti-retroviral treatment. He stressed that anti-retroviral drugs do not cure the disease but reduce it. He said through medical evidence, the drug and correct counselling can enable a patient live for over 20 years after. He said the earlier someone knows his or her HIV status, the better for them.

Enongene said the Nkambe District Hospital was the only treatment centre in Donga-Mantung Division. He said during treatment, there must be continuous counselling to enable the patient cope with the situation; personal hygiene and food class are necessary to maintain health.
He said the centre was privileged with a CD4 count machine which helps in the proper follow-up of patients. He entreated the people to make maximum use of this machine.

He further advised on abstinence for the unmarried; faithfulness to partners and the use of condemns for those who cannot control their emotions. He said unborn babies were protected through a special programme and this could only function if the pregnant woman attained pre-natal clinic.There was also a presentation on, "Defamation within the press world," by Justice Dieudonné Nfonsam Bepson.

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